Thistle rejigs as marketer quits

Thistle Hotels has divided its marketing and sales responsibilities following the recent departure of sales and marketing director William Burton.

Marketing controller Gerard Tempest will manage the marketing department and report to new chief executive officer Arun Amarsi.

Singapore-based BIL International completed a &£627m hostile takeover bid for the Thistle Hotel group last month and Burton left shortly afterwards, following chief executive Ian Burke.

BIL chief executive officer Arun Amarsi, already a Thistle director, was appointed chief executive and managing director.

Burton’s responsibilities have been broken down into four areas – marketing, centralised sales, field sales and revenue – each with its own head of department. Burton joined the group in April 2001 and is a former Thomson Holidays sales and distribution director.

The hotels group uses Zest for its advertising and Positive Thinking for its direct marketing. It spent &£422,000 on advertising for the year to March (Nielsen Media Research).

Thistle Hotels has 56 properties in the UK, 24 of them in the London area. Because of its large presence in London, the group has been affected disproportionately by the slump in tourism and the economic downtown. A spokesman says the company is preparing promotional activity for the beginning of July.

There is speculation over whether BIL will ditch the Thistle brand and license a globally recognised brand for the properties or sell the group.

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